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In re Cokinos

Topic(s): Internet Free Speech - Right To Speak Anonymously
Status: closed
Date Of Involvement: 11/30/2004

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Description:

After his re-election defeat, a incumbent county commissioner sued in Texas court to identify a anonymous constituent who sent several emails denouncing him and several other incumbents for allegedly wasteful public expenditures, claiming that the emails were libelous and that the failure to identify the sender violated Texas campaign finance laws. Public Citizen represented the poster in a successful motion to quash the subpoena, arguing that Texas election law did not require identification of such low-cost citizen communications, and that the emails, though they contained strong accusations, either were protected opinion or had not been shown to be false. In an order issued without any explanatory opinion, the trial judge quashed the subpoena.